Monday, June 18, 2007

What Women See When They See Hillary

From The Nation: By Lakshmi Chaudhry
"'I love [Hillary Clinton] so completely that, honestly, she would have to burn down the White House before I would say anything bad about her!' exclaimed Nora Ephron in a 1993 Newsday interview. Three years later, she told the Wellesley class of 1996, 'Understand: Every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you.' Come late 2006, however, Ephron was the one on the attack as one of the self-described 'Hillary resisters'--those who believe that 'she will do anything to win, who believe she doesn't really take a position unless it's completely safe,' as she wrote on her Huffington Post blog, 'who believe she has taken the concept of triangulation and pushed it to a geometric level never achieved by anyone including her own husband, who can't stand her position on the war, who don't trust her as far as you can spit.'

This rather dramatic change of heart encapsulates one of the great ironies of Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency. Many of the very same feminists who were her most ardent supporters as First Lady are now fiercely opposed to her historic bid to become the first female President of the United States. The woman once described by Susan Faludi as a symbol of 'the joy of female independence' now evokes ambivalence, disdain and, sometimes, outright vitriol. ...

So what's up with the Hillary-bashing? "Women don't trust Hillary. They see her as an opportunist; many feel betrayed by her," wrote Susan Douglas in a May In These Times article titled "Why Women Hate Hillary." A month later, in her Newsweek column, Anna Quindlen declared, "The truth is that Senator Clinton has a woman problem."...

Let's be clear: Hillary has a "feminist problem," and more so with those who lean left. ...

Could it possibly be that some of us (i.e., progressive Americans, of whatever gender) don't like what we've seen since our initial, pre-1993 enthusiasm for Hillary? Or have been disappointed by her failure to provide inspiring or effective leadership on the issues of greatest importance to us during her time in the Senate (that is, when she hasn't been pointing in the wrong direction entirely)?

All very sad. Nothing very much to do with her gender.

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